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Host: Scott LaMar

STFriday: DNA collection, Pittsburgh politics and 'Operation Sure Shot'

Written by Matt Paul, Reporter/Producer | Nov 15, 2013 7:36 AM

What to look for on Smart Talk Friday:

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The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to take up changes to the state's DNA database next week. At issue is legislation that would expand DNA testing to individuals arrested -- but not convicted -- of certain crimes.

Supporters say it would help to identify and stop violent offenders. But critics say it violates the Fourth Amendment.

witf's Capitol Bureau Chief Mary Wilson sits down with state Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, the bill's prime sponsor.

We'll also be joined live by ACLU of Pennsylvania Legislative Director Andy Hoover, who has called this a case of government getting bigger before our eyes.

What do you think of SB 150? Post your comments below.

Later on Smart Talk Friday, we'll be joined by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Moriah Balingit to discuss expectations for the city's mayor-elect and the legacy of outgoing Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

Finally, Mary Wilson spent some time at Fort Indiantown Gap recently, where she caught up with sportsmen sighting-in their rifles ahead of deer season. "Operation Sure Shot" is an annual event that teams midstate hunters with the Pennsylvania National Guard's marksmanship training unit.


The PA National Guard's "Operation Sure Shot"

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  • Dave Busey img 2013-11-15 09:13

    It's 9:00 AM Friday. I cannot get signed in to the Pennsylvania Government web site to read the actual bill language in SB150. I hope that the discussion, which will begin in a few minutes will consider the expunging of DNA database information. When the investigation has concluded with complete exonerationofa person formerly suspected of a new criminal activity, will the DNA information be completely erased from all databases?
    That's my concern. If the current wording does not provide for specific direction to remove information which is no longer the subject of a specific criminal investigation, then an amendment must be added to allow for automatic expungement, unless the state prosecutors obtain a court order to keep it for a specific limited length of time and for a substantial legal reason. Further, there must be an explicit penalty written into the amendment to punish individuals, either in government or in private industry, who is found to have failed to follow state specified regulations about expunging the information.
    Why do I insist on such penalties? To see an analogy, what if we changed the vehicle speeding laws to "suggested" speed limits with not fines or vehicle penalty points for driving over the speed limit. Would drivers be expected to voluntarily adhere to the suggestions? Of course not! In the same way, the workload for public safety and judicial personnel would discourage them from following up on expunging DNA data. Unless we build in "stick" of the penalty, the "carrot" of words only in the law will not be sufficient to bring the suggestion into reality.

  • Dave Busey img 2013-11-15 09:38

    If a DNA sample is taken during an investigation after which the subject (and/or subjects) of the investigation is (or are) exonerated, I believe that the complete expungement of the DNA ought to be AUTOMATIC in the new law, not an "opt in later" action initiated by the subject and requiring a court order to carry it out. How does the senate justify the necessity for the subject to explicitly ask that his/her data be removed?

  • Mary Wilson img 2013-11-15 09:54

    From the Smart Talk Friday inbox:

    So, they will purge the DNA records, like they do the gun purchasing records
    which they are required to do by law, but do not?

    And the storing of biometric information taken from PENNDOT driver’s license photos?

    Where does it end?

    Bill Wallenmeyer
    Shermans Dale, PA

  • Mary Wilson img 2013-11-15 09:56

    From the Smart Talk Friday inbox:

    once again we chipping away at our basic rights.....i thought we were innocent before proven guilty. please explain this. this is no different then the gov. following prescriptions being purchased by citizens.

    i just wish these so called law makers would get down to real work, not just their personal ideas, that for the most part just flop.

    get with property tax reform, fund the state and school pensions, quit sitting on your brains and start doing something!

    thomas w. hauck
    lancaster, co manheim twp. pa